Actress-businesswoman Alma Concepcion returns to the pageant stage as she represents the Philippines in the Ms. and Mrs. Grand Universe beauty pageant which will be held in Manila in September.

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Concepcion, a Bb. Pilipinas International titleholder in 1994, said that she is excited to join another pageant because she believes she is richer in experience these days.

“The essence of being a woman is richer when you join in your middle age because you have gone through a lot. You’ve given birth, you have your ups and downs. So I guess these experiences will help you become a better person,” said Concepcion in an exclusive interview.

Ovette Ricalde, international director and consultant of the international pageant, said that he has been courting Concepcion for quite some time now to join another pageant.

“We have been friends for a long time now. I encouraged her to join the Hawaiian Tropics when she was 15. And then later Bb. Pilipinas. Alma has what it takes to be a winner once again in pageants,” Ricalde said.

At the Miss International 1994 pageant held in Tokyo, Japan, Concepcion won Miss Friendship and made it to the Top 15 semi-finalists.

Now a successful businesswoman, Concepcion also admits that she still enjoys the benefits of being a Filipino beauty queen. “Once a beauty queen, always a beauty queen. They still recognize me up to these days.”

Concepcion also encouraged girls to join pageants. “If you have the height, the beauty, the intellect, then go for it. You might regret later in life if you did not pursue it.”

Asked about the lessons learned in pageants, Concepcion said: “I did not win in all the pageants I competed in. But losing brought out the best in me. It will bring out the best in you.”

Former beauty queens Jenny Guinto and her daughter Angela Janine Torres founded the Ms. and Mrs. Grand Universe competition.

Some 45 candidates from around the world are expected to gather for this contest. There are three categories for the pageant: Ms. Grand Universe (25-45 years old, single moms or divorced with or without kids); Mrs. Grand Universe (married women, 25-45 years old); and Classic Grand Universe (ages 46 and above).

Concepcion will compete in the Ms. Grand Universe category.

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